Swimming Heart Rate Monitor: 7 Best Waterproof Devices – Tested

Looking to take your swimming performance to the next level? Look no further than the power of a heart rate monitor. Whether you’re a competitive swimmer or simply enjoy hitting the pool for a workout, understanding your heart rate can be a game-changer. With a heart rate monitor, you can stay in the zone, pushing your limits while avoiding overexertion. So, dive in and discover how a heart rate monitor can take your swimming to new depths of success. In this guide, we will show you the best waterproof swimming heart rate monitor for swimmers.

How to Choose the Right Swimming Heart Rate Monitor?

Now that you understand the benefits of using a heart rate monitor in swimming and the different heart rate zones, it’s time to choose the right heart rate monitor for your needs. When selecting a Swimming Heart Rate Monitor, there are a few key factors to consider.

Firstly, it’s crucial to choose a heart rate monitor that is specifically designed for swimming. Regular heart rate monitors may not be waterproof or may not accurately track your heart rate in the water. Look for a heart rate monitor that is specifically labeled as suitable for swimming and has a high water resistance rating.

Secondly, consider the type of heart rate monitor that best suits your preferences and needs. There are two main types of heart rate monitors for swimming: chest strap monitors and optical wrist-based monitors. Chest strap monitors are worn around your chest, while wrist-based monitors are worn on your wrist like a regular watch. Chest strap monitors tend to provide more accurate heart rate data but can be less comfortable to wear. Wrist-based monitors, on the other hand, are more convenient and comfortable but may be slightly less accurate, especially during high-intensity swims.

Lastly, consider any additional features that may be important to you. Some heart rate monitors offer advanced metrics such as stroke count, pace, and distance tracking. These features can provide valuable insights into your swim performance and help you track your progress over time. Additionally, consider the compatibility of the heart rate monitor with other devices or apps that you may be using, such as fitness trackers or training platforms.

By considering these factors and choosing a heart rate monitor that aligns with your needs, you can ensure that you have a reliable and accurate tool to optimize your swim workouts.

Best Waterproof Swimming Heart Rate Monitor: 7 Devices Tested

1. Garmin HRM-Swim Heart Rate Monitor

– Specifically designed for swimmers
– Non-slip strap
– Stores and forwards heart rate data to your devices
– Unit dimensions: 23-57x 1.5x 0.5 inches (58.0 – 145.0 x 3.8 x 1.2 cm)
– Battery life: 18 months (swimming 3 hours per week)
– Water rating: 5 ATM

Most Garmin devices now come with optical heart rate monitoring. The challenge with such devices is they don’t support optical heart rate while underwater. So, in this case, how would you rate your HR zones?

With Garmin’s HRM Swimming, that is how. Made of a thick material with a sticky back, Garmin HRM-Swim stays in place in the water to ensure you get the data you need, and that’s why we picked it as one of the top underwater heart rate monitors.

While in the pool, Garmin HRM-swim records your swimming data and syncs it to your device later.

HRM-Swim by Garmin has an internal clock that users can sync with their Garmin watch.

Overall, Garmin Swim does what it is supposed to do. It is a very proficient swimming HR strap and one of the best swim devices on the market.

But, you may also consider its relatively narrower band – Garmin HRM-Tri. So, if you are a lot into swimming, this is your device.


  • Snug fit
  • Comfortable
  • Decent battery life


  • Low waterproof capacity

2. Fitbit Versa 2 Waterproof HRM For Swimmers

swimming heart rate monitor
– Built-in Amazon Alexa
– 24/7 heart rate tracking
– Sleep tracking
– Unit dimensions: Small: Fits wrist 5.5″ – 7.1″ in circumference / – Large: Fits wrist 7.1″ – 8.7″ in circumference
– Battery life: Lithium-polymer, 2 hours of charging for 4+ days of use
– Water rating: 5 ATM

Versa 2 by Fitbit proves that being less is so much more. This brand of fitness products has improved everything that made the innovative budget smartwatch popular to create an almost perfect fitness tracker with the best smartwatch perks.

You can use this smartwatch for just about any physical activity you are into – running, cycling, gym workout, and swimming.

All while listening to your favorite playlist on Spotify. Its beautiful touchscreen is waterproof and can go up to 5 ATM as you dive into the pool.

While wrist-worn heart rate monitors can not match the tracking ability of strapped trackers, especially during rapid move changes like doing a flip-turn, as long as you can live with its limitations, it is still a pretty good swim watch you can get yourself.


  • Stylish and multifunctional
  • Comfortable
  • Improved lightweight design


  • Lacks GPS features

3. Garmin HRM-Tri Heart Rate Monitor

swimming heart rate monitor
– Perfect for swimmers and swimming activities.
– Smallest and lightest
– Adjustable straps
– Cool design
– Unit dimensions: 60 – 142x 3x 1.2 cm
– Battery life: 10 months (Tri training 1 hour per day)
– Water rating: 5 ATM

HRM-Tri by Garmin, your all-in-one swimming gadget, is one of the best heart rate monitors you can get yourself if you are into swimming and so much more.

Comprised of a chest-strap design that is small but stiff, it is the smallest and lightest heart rate monitor by Garmin thus far.

As the name suggests, HRM-Tri is ideal for your triathlon events. Thus, you can wear it as you swim, run, or cycle.

Worry not about hanging loose or falling off because this device offers a bi-fold adjustment that makes sizing easy for you.

Pair it with your Garmin Smartwatch, and you can use it for up to 10 months for a daily hour of physical activity.

It provides you with an excellent chance to improve your triathlon experience significantly.


  • Compact design
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Decent battery life


  • Only compatible with Garmin devices

4. Garmin Forerunner 245

Garmin Forerunner 245

I would particularly recommend the Garmin Forerunner 245, which is fully waterproof and provides useful additional data for your swimming training. The watch can be easily coupled with a chest strap, so that you get a complete package of reliable heart rate measurement from the chest strap and useful additional data from the watch itself. 

The optical heart rate measurement on the wrist (without a chest strap) works by measuring color changes on the skin due to the increased blood flow with a higher heart rate. For this purpose, the sensor, i.e. the heart rate monitor, must fit snugly on the wrist and must not slip too much.


  • Record heart-rate data while swimming
  • Provides pool lengths, swim intervals, stroke count, stroke types, and SWOLF
  • Garmin rates the watch to 5 ATM


  • Not the best battery life when compared to other models.

5. Fitbit Versa

swimming heart rate monitor
– Always-On display mode
– Sleep score
– 24/7 heart rate tracking
– You can also store songs
– Unit dimensions: 1.98 x 3.98 x 9 inch
– Battery life: 6+ days of use from 2 hours of charging
– Water rating: ATM 5

Versa, the predecessor of Fitbit Versa 2, is one smartwatch that, despite its age, is not awkward to wear in and out of the gym.

Most users even claim that it is more comfortable to wear than an Apple watch. Furthermore, you can switch the bands from leather to rubber to make them more stylish.

Another exciting feature this device has is its female-health tracking features that include periods.

This feature gives women users the ability to log their period symptoms to gain insight into fertility and potential health conditions right at your watch’s face.

This feature is identifiable to most women; after all, a woman’s cycle is key to her overall health. It dramatically affects sleep quality, exercise, and food intake.

Despite its pretty basic health-tracking features, the Versa smartwatch is still game-changing from software to physical appearance.


  • Sleek and lightweight design
  • Decent battery life
  • Female health tracking features


  • No GPS features

6. Polar H10 heart rate chest strap

swimming heart rate monitor

As almost always, Polar also provides a recommended variant for measuring the heart rate while swimming. The Polar H10 heart rate chest strap is also very suitable for your swimming training. Here I would use the Polar Vantage M in connection with the chest strap. I recently tested this extensively and was absolutely thrilled with the sports functions in particular. The watch also gives you very detailed and useful data for swimming, which you can then use to optimize your training.


  • Very reliable in various sports, swimming included.
  • Accurate Polar technology for heart rate monitoring.
  • Connectivity via Bluetooth Smart.


  • Might be uncomfortable around the chest for some users.
  • The strap requires regular washing.
  • Washing gradually wears down the strap.

7. SUUNTO Smart Sensor

swimming heart rate monitor
– Comfortable
– High accuracy
– Not just for swimming but also works with other sports.
– Works with starva
– Up to 500 hours battery life
– Module weight 9,4g/0,33 oz (battery included), diameter 36,5 mm / 1,44 in. Thickness 8 mm / 0,32 in.
– Belt weight 31,2 g / 1,10 oz, width 30 mm / 1,18 in, length (size Medium) 70-110 cm / 28-43 in.
– Also supports Bluetooth


  • Watertight device.
  • Suunto Heatmaps helps you find swimming spots.
  • It tells you when you’re slacking off.
  • It tells when your technique is getting sloppy.


  • Not many design variations.
  • Lack some features like ECG monitoring.

Benefits of using a heart rate monitor in swimming

The benefits of using a heart rate monitor in swimming are:

  • Allows you to track your heart rate in real-time, optimizing your swim and avoiding overexertion.
  • Helps you identify issues with your technique and improve your efficiency in the water.
  • Allows you to monitor your recovery during rest intervals, ensuring you’re fully recovered before starting the next set.

Understanding heart rate zones for swimming

To effectively use a heart rate monitor during your swim, it’s essential to understand the different heart rate zones and what they mean for your training. Heart rate zones are a way of categorizing different levels of effort based on your maximum heart rate. Each zone corresponds to a specific percentage range of your maximum heart rate, and training within these zones can help you achieve different training goals.

The five heart rate zones commonly used in swimming are:

  • Zone 1 – Recovery Zone: This zone corresponds to 50-60% of your maximum heart rate. It is a very light effort level and is typically used for warm-ups, cool-downs, and recovery swims.
  • Zone 2 – Aerobic Zone: This zone corresponds to 60-70% of your maximum heart rate. It is a comfortable effort level that allows for longer, sustained swims. Training in this zone helps improve your aerobic capacity and endurance.
  • Zone 3 – Threshold Zone: This zone corresponds to 70-80% of your maximum heart rate. It is a moderate effort level that challenges your cardiovascular system. Training in this zone helps improve your lactate threshold and ability to sustain higher intensities.
  • Zone 4 – Anaerobic Zone: This zone corresponds to 80-90% of your maximum heart rate. It is a high-intensity effort level that pushes your cardiovascular system to its limits. Training in this zone helps improve your speed and anaerobic capacity.
  • Zone 5 – Maximum Zone: This zone corresponds to 90-100% of your maximum heart rate. It is an all-out effort level and is typically used for short, intense sprints. Training in this zone helps improve your maximum speed and power.

Understanding these heart rate zones can help you structure your swim workouts effectively. By spending time in each zone and varying the intensity of your training, you can target different energy systems and work towards your specific swimming goals.

Setting up and calibrating your heart rate monitor for swimming

Once you have chosen the right heart rate monitor for swimming, it’s essential to properly set it up and calibrate it for accurate heart rate tracking. Follow these steps to ensure that your heart rate monitor is ready to go:

  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions: Before starting, carefully read the instructions provided by the manufacturer. This will ensure that you understand how to properly use and set up your specific heart rate monitor.
  • Wet the electrodes (for chest strap monitors): If you’re using a chest strap monitor, wet the electrodes on the strap before putting it on. This will improve the conductivity and accuracy of the heart rate readings.
  • Position the chest strap correctly: For chest strap monitors, position the strap just below your chest muscles, ensuring that it’s snug but not too tight. The electrodes should be in direct contact with your skin.
  • Secure the strap: Fasten the strap securely but comfortably, ensuring that it stays in place during your swim. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure a proper fit.
  • Pair the heart rate monitor with your device: If using a wrist-based monitor or a chest strap monitor that connects wirelessly to a device, pair the heart rate monitor with your smartphone, smartwatch, or other compatible device. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the pairing process.
  • Test the heart rate monitor: Before jumping into the pool, test the heart rate monitor to ensure that it’s accurately recording your heart rate. Check that the readings align with your perceived effort level and compare them to manual measurements (e.g., taking your pulse manually).
  • Calibrate the heart rate monitor (if necessary): Some heart rate monitors allow for manual calibration, especially wrist-based monitors. If your heart rate monitor offers this feature, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for calibrating it to your specific swimming stroke and style.

By following these steps and properly setting up and calibrating your heart rate monitor, you can ensure accurate and reliable heart rate tracking during your swim workouts.

Using heart rate data to optimize your swim workouts

Now that you have your heart rate monitor set up and ready to go, it’s time to start using the heart rate data to optimize your swim workouts. Here are some tips on how to effectively use the heart rate data:

  • Determine your target heart rate zones: Based on your swimming goals and the heart rate zones discussed earlier, determine your target heart rate zones for different types of swim workouts. For example, if you’re focusing on endurance, you may spend more time in Zone 2 and Zone 3. If you’re working on speed, you may incorporate more Zone 4 and Zone 5 intervals.
  • Monitor your heart rate during your swim: Keep a close eye on your heart rate during your swim workouts. Check that your heart rate is within the desired zone for the specific part of the workout.
  • Adjust your intensity: If you notice that your heart rate is consistently below the target zone, increase your intensity to ensure that you’re working hard enough. Conversely, if your heart rate is consistently above the target zone, dial back the intensity to avoid overexertion.
  • Track your heart rate patterns: Over time, observe any patterns in your heart rate data. Are there certain strokes or drills that consistently result in a higher heart rate? Are there particular parts of the workout where your heart rate drops too low? Use this information to make adjustments to your technique, pacing, or rest intervals.
  • Experiment with different workouts: Use your heart rate monitor as a tool to experiment with different swim workouts. By varying the duration, intensity, and structure of your workouts, you can challenge your body in different ways and continue making progress.

By using your heart rate data to guide your swim workouts, you can ensure that you’re training at the right intensity and making the most of your time in the water.

Tips for maximizing your swim with a heart rate monitor

To get the most out of your swim workouts with a heart rate monitor, consider implementing the following tips:

  • Warm-up and cool-down: Begin each swim workout with a proper warm-up to gradually increase your heart rate and prepare your muscles for the main set. Similarly, end each workout with a cool-down to gradually lower your heart rate and aid in recovery.
  • Focus on technique: Even with a heart rate monitor, it’s important not to neglect your technique. Focus on maintaining proper form and efficiency in the water, as this will help optimize your swim and reduce unnecessary strain on your body.
  • Mix up your workouts: To prevent boredom and continue challenging your body, mix up your swim workouts. Incorporate different strokes, drills, intervals, and distances to keep things interesting and target different aspects of your swimming.
  • Listen to your body: While heart rate monitoring can provide valuable data, it’s essential to listen to your body and adjust your training accordingly. If you’re feeling excessively tired or experiencing any pain or discomfort, take a break or modify your workout.
  • Stay consistent: Consistency is key when it comes to improving your swimming. Aim for regular swim workouts, ideally 2-4 times per week, to build endurance, strength, and overall fitness.

By following these tips and incorporating a heart rate monitor into your swim routine, you can maximize your swim workouts and take your swimming performance to new heights.

Heart rate training plans for different swimming goals

To help you get started, here are sample heart rate training plans for different swimming goals:

1. Endurance Training Plan:

  • Warm-up: 10 minutes of easy swimming (Zone 1).
  • Main set: 30 minutes of continuous swimming at a moderate intensity (Zone 2).
  • Cool-down: 5 minutes of easy swimming (Zone 1).

2. Speed Training Plan:

  • Warm-up: 10 minutes of easy swimming (Zone 1).
  • Main set: 10×50-meter sprints with 30 seconds rest between each (Zone 4).
  • Cool-down: 5 minutes of easy swimming (Zone 1).

3. Technique Training Plan:

  • Warm-up: 10 minutes of easy swimming (Zone 1).
  • Main set: 10×50-meter drills focusing on specific technique improvements (Zone 2).
  • Cool-down: 5 minutes of easy swimming (Zone 1).

Remember to adjust the duration, intensity, and rest intervals based on your current fitness level and progress over time. Gradually increase the difficulty of your workouts as you become more comfortable and proficient in the water.

Swimming Heart Rate Monitor: Our Top Pick

​HRM-Swim by Garmin topped our list of the best swimming heart rate monitors; chest straps that are snug-fit lessen the odds of falling or sliding off your abdomen as you push your way through the waters.

The sticky, silicone-ish material that sucks up to your skin beats all the reasons for it falling off.

Additionally, the most common worry of any swimmer for their swimming heart rate monitor is the corrosive materials most pools have for treatment.

Garmin has HRM-Swim designed to withstand and endure these elements.

With a battery life of 235 hours, it won’t let you down in terms of recording all the data you need while swimming.

Final Thoughts

Overall, using a heart rate monitor when swimming can bring many advantages. Swimmers can track their heart rate in real-time to optimize workouts and prevent overexertion during workouts, identify technical flaws in technique and boost efficiency while improving efficiency in the water. Heart rate monitors also help ensure proper rest during rest intervals and maximize training sessions. By understanding different heart rate zones and their significance, swim workouts can be structured effectively in order to target specific training goals more successfully. By selecting and setting up a heart rate monitor specifically designed for swimming, and calibrating it correctly, swimmers can ensure accurate and reliable heart rate tracking.

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